One of the dafter ideas to emerge from politicians is David Cameron's proposal that failing Year 6 pupils should repeat their last year at primary school. What effect will repeating a year have on pupils' self- esteem and motivation damaged already by "only" having achieved level 2 or 3?
Will it make them more or (more likely) much less amenable to school discipline at age 12, and even more so two or three years later? How will the extra influx be accommodated in schools by Ofsted in inspections and by the Department for Children, Schools and Families in performance tables ? How will Conservative parents react to their children being "held back"? How will secondaries react? Will they too be able to require pupils to repeat a year or more, or perhaps be able to send back their poorly performing Year 7 or 8 pupils for an extra dose of primary education?
There are some sensible proposals for improvements to education emerging from the Conservatives' policy review group, but these may be overshadowed by the publicity given to this retrograde proposal.
Professor Colin Richards